The NBA retired its first quantity ever Thursday, and Invoice Russell’s No. 6 couldn’t be a better option — if it’s not the one selection. A transcendent determine as a player, as a coach, and as a civil rights chief, Russell’s legacy takes dictionaries’ to outline. Of the 4 main skilled sports activities in America, solely Jackie Robinson’s 42 and Wayne Gretzky’s 99 are the one different jerseys off limits to the league.
It doesn’t shock anybody that this occurred, however it’s surprising (relying on who you’re) that it took this lengthy. I’m unsure if the Twitter rumors/options that circulated after Russell’s passing on July 31 prompted the transfer, or if an NBA announcement had been within the works, however the common response gave the impression to be that it was logical and the proper factor to do.
Are you able to cement somebody’s legacy if it’s already been etched within the annals of historical past? No matter you need to name it, Russell’s impression on the game is now immortalized, and contemplating what he stood for, how he stood for it, and who he stood with, what he did off the ground can’t be celebrated sufficient.
The abuse he took from his personal metropolis is properly documented, and a few have mentioned he was too good of a person to be saddled with Boston’s fanbase. With this transfer, his significance formally spreads to each nook of the NBA, from Boston to LA, as much as Portland, over Chicago, and all the way down to Miami.
Across the league, 14 players wear No. 6 — most notably, LeBron James — and they’ll be grandfathered into the distinction of being the last to sport that number.
While it would’ve been nice if Russell was alive to see his jersey raised to every rafter, it’s sadly reflective of the way he’s somehow overlooked that this honor comes after his passing.
There was only one number the NBA could’ve ever retired, and it’s Russell’s No. 6.
Daniel Elton, senior editor at Wahu Times, writes about politics and policy with a focus on climate advocacy. Daniel previously at the New Republic and, and Self. Daniel can be reached by email.